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Meningococcal Disease and Vaccine UPDATE 6/12/18

Meningococcal disease is an infection caused by bacteria and can lead to very serious illnesses:

How do you catch it?

Meningococcal bacteria are commonly carried in the nose and throat and do not usually cause disease. Carriage rates are highest in older teenagers and young adults. The bacteria can

be transferred from person to person through contact with saliva, e.g. intimate kissing.

How serious is it?

If meningococcal bacteria pass into the blood, the disease usually progresses very quickly. A person with meningococcal disease may develop:

» Meningitis (inflammation of the membranes around the brain).

» Septicaemia (blood infection).

» Pneumonia (lung infection).

Who should be immunised against meningococcal disease

Some patient who have immunosuppressive illnesses (weak immune systems), who are medically at high risk and those exposed to confirmed meningococcal cases are eligible for funded vaccinations.

The vaccines are non-funded but recommended for

» Other infants and young children aged under 5 years, adolescents and young adults.

» Particularly adolescents and young adults living in close proximity to each other, e.g. boarding school, university halls of residence or in long-term institutional care.

» Travellers to high-risk countries and Hajj pilgrims

There are several different types of meningococcal bacteria including A, B, C, Y and W-135.

For best protection against meningococcal disease in New Zealand, an age appropriate course of meningococcal A, C, Y and W vaccine (Menactra or Nimenrix) plus an age appropriate course of meningococcal group B vaccine (Bexsero) is recommended. The A, C, Y and W vaccines cover around 49% and the group B around 48% of meningococcal disease cases so far this year. IMAC (The Immunisation Advisory Centre)

Each vaccine has different recommendations regarding the number of doses of vaccinations, depending on the age of the patient. There are also minimum age recommendations for each vaccination.

Please see HERE for further vaccine information.

Please contact our nurse or make an appointment to see your GP to discuss appropriate vaccines and costs.

Please be aware that there are supply issues with some of the meningococcal vaccines. 

**Information taken from The Immunisation Advisory Centre IMAC

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